After failing to get a bill out of committee last year, New York Rep. Paul Tonko is trying again to address the important issue of safe truck parking.
Tonko has introduced a new version of the bill, nicknamed “Jason’s Law” in honor of a long-haul trucker who was shot and killed while sitting in his truck at a South Carolina gas station. The bill, H.R. 1803, would provide $20 million each year for the next six years to improve the parking situation for truckers. That’s only $120 million over six years.
On Thursday, March 5, 2009, trucker Jason Rivenburg parked his truck at a gas station 12 miles from his destination because it was too early to make his delivery. Before he was able to make that delivery, Rivenburg was shot and killed, leaving behind his wife Hope, who was pregnant with twins at the time, and a son who was to turn 2 a month later.
The bill has widespread support from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), the National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO), Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), and American Trucking Association (ATA) among many others, not the least of which is any driver who has ever parked his truck in an unlit parking lot simply to comply with hours-of-service regulations.
Just recently, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced approximately $6 million in funding for Michigan and Minnesota to create systems that will deliver real-time information on parking availability through Intelligent Transportation Systems. That’s nice and will undoubtedly be helpful to truckers, but if a driver can’t get to one of those facilities with available space before running out of hours, it won’t do much good.
The Jason’s Law bill is asking for only $20 million each year to actually help create more parking opportunities where truckers need them. That is $20 million worth spending.
Please, reach out to your local congressmen, or to Rep. Tonko himself, and show your support to passage of Jason’s Law.
To contact Tonko, click here.
To find your local congressmen, click here.
You can also learn more about Jason Rivenburg and Jason's Law by visiting the Jason's Law Facebook page here.